It has never been easier to add music to videos, especially with all of the online video editing tools that have popped up in recent years. But, how do you do it without any copyright or monetization issues?
These are the questions that I faced when creating my own YouTube videos:
- Where can I find music for my videos?
- Is it ok to add this music track?
- What about copyright?
- Will my videos be taken down?
- Can this video be monetized if I use this song?
If you can relate to any of these questions or are wondering how to add music to videos, then let me save you some time and give you the steps that allowed me to launch my own videos on YouTube without any issues at all.
What is royalty-free music and why you should care
Before we can dive into adding some awesome tunes to our videos or create that music video that you’ve always wanted, we need to discuss and understand what royalty-free music is because it’s important.
Anything that is created by someone, be that analog or digital is protected by the basic copyright laws meaning the right to copy.
This is great because it protects people from ripping or stealing artists' material straight up and down and claiming it’s theirs. But it’s of no use if the material can’t be used anywhere. That’s why there is a thing called the Creative Commons License, which also comes in different layers.
We don’t need to dive into each and every layer of this, but if you plan to use material made by someone else, look for the CC0 or CC-BY creative commons license.
This allows for remixing, adapting, building upon and monetizing the content it’s used in as long as the artist is credited for their original work.
Fortunately, you’ll not have to worry about any of this if you use the first 2 ways of adding music to your videos that we’ll dive into in this article, as they are all royalty-free music cleared with the license in mind.
But paying attention to copyright is something you’ll have to both understand and if you plan to find your own specific tracks for free, or you’ll risk getting in trouble.
How do you add background music to a video?
Don’t let the copyright thing scare you off as it’s extremely easy to add music to videos without any issues at all. Here are the best ways to go about it:
1. Using WeVideo’s stock media library
WeVideo is an online video editing software that barely costs as much as a cup of coffee per month, but that is not its main feature. What makes it powerful is that it’s based online, which means that you can edit your videos from any device at any time!
The other feature that they have is their built-in stock media library, which includes millions of royalty-free media, including music, and it’s super simple.
While doing your regular video editing tasks, as long as you have the Professional or Business plan, you can head over to the stock media tab. Search for whatever you want, drag it in on a separate track on the timeline and you’re all set.
This is the easiest way to add music to your videos. If you’re not satisfied with the music selection that’s available, then you can use other music services.
2. Using paid music services
Using one of the best stock music services is a great way to find high-quality music made by popular artists and use them as much as you like in your videos.
Since you’re paying a monthly fee to these services, copyright is taken care of as the artist gets compensated through the SaaS company to which they are contracted.
This is the best way to go to unlock millions of quality tracks and find exactly what you need for your projects. Once you’ve picked a service and found the track that you want, you’ll have to download that track.
Once downloaded, simply upload it to your video editing software and continue editing. One thing you’ll have to remember is to always check what attributes that are required by each music service before uploading your video to a platform like YouTube.
In some cases, you’ll have to mention either the service that you got the track from, the license or the artist themself in the YouTube video description.
3. How do I add music to a video for free?
The simplest and easiest way to add music to your video entirely for free is through the YouTube Studio library. They provide thousands of songs that you can use as background music to your videos but, in all honesty, these are low-quality tracks.
Now if you want to find your own music and entirely for free, you’ll have to do your due diligence and research what copyrights apply for each track that you're considering.
Besides using music services that have everything you could possibly ever want, I like to go to SoundCloud and there is a specific way to find tracks that are ok to use in your videos.
What you’ll have to do is to first search for the type of music that you'd like, in this example, I’ll go with lo-fi music.
Go to the filtering section to the left and select “to use commercially”.
Now you have a list of potential tracks but it doesn't end there. You’ll have to go through each and every track and try to find the information provided by the artist on if you’re allowed to use it, and what attributions may be required.
Most artists will want some kind of mentioning and link back to their portfolio or social media, which you have to comply with if you want to use their material. Also, make sure to click the Creative Commons License link and verify exactly which layer that applies for that track.
Once you’ve cleared that the track is ok to use in your videos, you’ll have to somehow download it. Either through a specific link provided by the artist, through a SoundCloud download or if you need to use some kind of third-party download to get the track.
As you can see, getting tracks like this is free but infinitely harder compared to just using either WeVideo’s stock media or paid music services.
Can I add music to a video on my phone?
You can as long as the video editor that you use provides a mobile app that allows you to add music to your video. WeVideo already supports this (on both iOS and Android) and is a good way to add music, but I prefer to use a regular computer for this. Not only is it easier it also gives you more control over a phone and a larger selection of high-quality tracks.
And there you have it, 3 ways to add music to your video. If you’re on a tight budget, I’d recommend getting WeVideo with the stock media add-on for the simplest experience.
But you’ll soon want to increase the production value, perhaps through investing in a vlogging camera or adding some high-quality tracks with a paid music service. The choice is yours, play around and see what works best for you!